Draftmix was one of the first sites like ours to exploit the UIGEA exception on Fantasy Sports. It was started up by fellow poker blogger and complete tool Matt Maroon. Matt just loved to bash FantasySportsLive.com on his now dead poker chronicles web site. Check this post out from December 2007, where he raves about his site and states this about FSL.
"It's hilarious to me that they make the originality claim, when they're just a slightly less lame carbon copy of another site. My dog leaves more originality than that in tightly coiled piles on my front lawn daily".
I responded in the comment section with this gem.
"You have done nothing but trash our site, so I find it hilarious that you take offense to one simple comment in our blog. We plan on offering live drafts as an alternative method, never as the primary one. And if we suck so bad, why do you even bother trashing our site or even read our blog. The facts are simple. Your site missed the football season, which is a huge setback for you. Your contests only fill if there is free money involved. For some reason we have the most users, and we actually make money on our contests. It is very professional to trash your competition, so keep it up. It only helps us in the long run, because it makes you seem oh so jealous. And nice job ripping our spelling ability. I am sure that's what people look for when choosing a fantasy sports site."
I normally would never give lip service to the competition, but it was clear from the beginning that they would never really be a competitor. I did follow them for a while, because they were one of the better capitalized competitors out there. They were funded initially through Y-Combinator, and later through some secondary funding rounds (according to Matt). Well it gives me great pleasure to see that they have stopped running fantasy leagues on their site. I am not sure if they are doing this to cut their daily losses, or they are just buying time before they shut the site down like Instant Fantasy Sports did last year. Matt deserves what he gets, and his site never had a chance. They are doing some FaceBook stuff I guess, but that will be an utter failure as well.
If this is really it for them, they will probably go down as the worst start-up in Y-Combinators history. If you use Vegas style accounting (You don't count a Blackjack bet as revenue, you count what is won from the Blackjack players as revenue) which is appropriate for this type of business, their revenue is actually negative for the life of their company. Negative revenue for the life of a business is a pretty tough thing to pull off. It means that you are paying people to use your product, not the other way around. Hard to make a living that way, so I can understand why they are trying to cut their losses.
It really did not surprise me at all. I read the Matt Maroon blog for a while, because he would discuss his start-up from time to time. Pretty much everything he wrote their was dead wrong. He said the iPhone would not sell 10M units in 2008. Wrong! He said the Google Android phones would crush the iPhone. Wrong! He went out of his way to defend the Crap Vista Operating System. Wrong! He wrote a long post about Global Warming being a fact. Wrong! He never bothered to admit that this stuff was wrong, so I tried to point it out in a comment which he censored. Unfortunately, you can't censor me over here.
So Draftmix leaves the competitive landscape, and we are left with NBC, and a bunch of under capitalised new start-ups. We make things look pretty easy at FSL, but it really is not that easy. Our site was set up correctly from the beginning, and we are laser focused on our target customer. We also used you guys, the poker blogging community, to gain a quick critical mass of users. Without action on your site, its hard to attract new people and for that we will always be grateful to the poker bloggers. Best of luck Matt and Chris with whatever you decide to do next.